Hillary lost the presidency to Donald Trump because of five mistakes she (and her campaign) made, all of which she had full control over.
Full Disclosure: I voted for Hillary Clinton.
It’s worth repeating that the discussions of those mistakes here are to simply elaborate on what we already discussed well advance of the general elections. Put differently, if Hillary’s campaign paid a tiny bit of attention to our analysis, the country could have avoided Trumpageddon.
Mistake No 4 – Cluelessness and Arrogance
Hillary’s inability to connect with constituents was mind boggling.
I read many stories of Hillary’s empathy for and towards others; there is no reason to doubt any of those stories. It sufficed to have followed her around during her presidential campaign to get a sense of her genuineness. Although one could easily discard her empathy during her presidential bid as political, the stories told by many did not happen under the spotlight of politics; in fact, the beneficiaries of her empathy usually met with her in private at a time when there was seemingly no benefit to her then and in the immediate future.
So, it was all the more puzzling to understand that someone with such a genuine interest to help others could be so inept communicating and connecting with an electorate whose wishes and needs are so similar to those she has helped. On the campaign trail, it was painfully obvious Mrs. Clinton had difficulty explaining in simple terms the policies which would benefit the country if elected. Ironically, she displays a command of most policies for governing.
Although it would be unfair to suggest the campaign manager could mold Hillary into becoming a better communicator, it was nonetheless Robby’s job to provide guidance or even hand holding her if necessary to substitute for her weakness connecting with her audience. One could easily conclude that the campaign manager also lacks communication skill or he was completely clueless what Hillary was lacking to make an effective case for her candidacy. Or worse, he was totally clueless as to what was going on with the campaign he was entrusted to manage.
But Hillary’s lack of communication skills was not the only problem she had to cope with; throughout the campaign, an oversized shadow of distrust followed her everywhere. Neither she nor the campaign manager cared to address the shadow; as I pointed out in an earlier article, her campaign had adopted an “ignore, it will go away” strategy which clearly did not work. I watched with great sadness Mrs. Clinton hugging her husband on the few occasions they were at the same location; it was uncomfortably obvious for her. While I can easily rationalize or even sympathize with her predicament, I could not comprehend that, as a politician, she could not compartmentalize that aspect of her life which was sure to re-emerge, especially with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee. In other words, it was up to her to address the issues of her husband’s past indiscretions and shut down everyone who would bring them back for discussion. Instead, she cringed at the idea as much as those around her, which might help explain why the campaign manager did such a mediocre job. It was painfully obvious the campaign did not prepare any plan to deal with that specific issue. It was almost as if everyone in Hillary’s staff was finding out about the problems when Donald Trump brought them up. What a bunch of morons made up the Hillary’s campaign management staff!
In addition, there was a certain air of arrogance in the Hillary’s campaign; be it by design or by accident, at her own peril, Hillary chose NOT TO address the issue of paid speeches – raised initially by the Sanders’ campaign – It was as if Hillary decided to borrow a page from Donald Trump’s book, “that’s not any of your damn business what I do in private”, a move which worked just fine for Trump but a career killer for any politician.
It was completely foolish not to have released the contents of the speeches during the primaries, a move which contributed to deepen the distrust towards her; what did she have to hide? It turned out that the contents of the speeches – revealed by Wikileaks a few days before voting in the general elections – did not have any outrageous “gotchas” but the damage done by her unwillingness to release them initially seemed irreversible; the distrust towards her exacerbated. As it should be obvious by now, Mrs. Clinton, instead of working towards removing the shadow of distrust, contributed a great deal to enlarge it and perpetuate the state of distrust which has surrounded her. Think of Hillary as someone who always looks suspicious despite having done nothing wrong. What a bunch of morons made up the Hillary’s campaign management staff!
Mistake No 5 – The Bernie Factor
The Clinton’s campaign had initially made an enemy out of the only person who could save her campaign and take her to the White House.
When it came to dealing with Bernie Sanders, the Clinton’s campaign made two major mistakes, the worse they’ve made.
1.- To ignore Bernie’s candidacy. Understandably so, Bernie Sanders was just “that independent” Senator from Vermont whose voice in Washington was most of the time ignored unless he aligned himself with the Democrats – For the record, Bernie’s views are more aligned with the Democratic Party – That was a terrible mistake on the part of the Clinton’s campaign who experienced a similar situation in 2008 with the Junior Senator Barack Obama from Illinois. Woe to any politician who underestimates his opponent! And Hillary’s campaign had underestimated Bernie Sanders. “There is no way Bernie could overtake Hillary” was the reasoning in the Clinton’s camp. After all, Hillary’s name recognition should catapult the unknown Senator back to Vermont where he belongs. Boy did the Clinton’s camp make a big mistake!
Be it by design – it seems so – or by an air of resignation – he will not get far in his bid for the presidency – Bernie began stomping on the populist idea of FREE college education. That was the right message at the right time. College students (and their parents) are overwhelmed by mountains of debts they have to carry beyond graduation. Those who are being crushed by students’ loans are in the tens of millions added to other tens of millions who will be joining the ranks of those indebted for life; they made up a sizable chunk of the electorate who supported Bernie. But what makes the situation even more untenable, unpalatable to the “indebted” generations of students is the lack of employment opportunity after their graduation. So, the Vermont Senator message to implement FREE college education for all was exactly what they wanted to hear. Within a few days of promoting the idea, Bernie’s campaign was joined by an army of college students (graduated and current) willing to lend a hand to propel Bernie to the nomination of the Party and eventually to the White House. Before long, the army of students (and their parents) attending Bernie’s rallies became a movement and the “Bernizens” expression was born. And the message of FREE college education took social media by storm, and Bernie was gaining ground on Clinton’s territory. To make matters worse (for the Clinton’s campaign), Bernie publicly repudiated the idea of collecting donations from corporations, a “sting” for her campaign which has not only collected from corporations but have also courted them for more donations. Bernie’s campaign was completely financed by his supporters ($10, $20, $30); his rallies quickly grew from the thousands to the tens of thousands. The Clinton’s campaign panicked and decided
2.- To destroy Bernie Sanders by any means necessary
When it became clear to the Clinton’s campaign that the Bernie’s movement – dubbed the Revolution – was no longer a flash in a pan, instead of reassessing their ill-conceived strategies and mismanaged campaign, they decided to undermine Bernie’s message of FREE college education. What a bunch of morons made up the Hillary’s campaign management staff!
- a) It is always a bad idea in any environment – even more so in politics – to try to stop “the selling of” an idea which a) sounds good b) is well received c) and is adopted by a sizable audience.
- b) It is always a better move to “promote” and “upsell if possible” an idea that is adopted by a sizable audience.
Hillary’s campaign ignored both. Hillary’s campaign manager must not have attended those classes about audience’s reactions to ideas; how could someone so clueless be entrusted to manage a national campaign? Blinded by the “Stop Bernie at all cost” plan, Hillary’s campaign failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity to upsell the FREE college education idea. Instead, Hillary and surrogates were out in full force trying to convince the Bernizens (and others) that the FREE college education idea would not pass Congress. What a bunch of morons made up the Hillary’s campaign management staff! Bernizens (and most constituents) do not care about the details of policy.
When the Clinton’s campaign realized it had failed to squash the FREE college education idea promoted by Bernie, they decided to spare no means to destroy him and his campaign. What a bunch of morons made up the Hillary’s campaign management staff! Her campaign had made the worst mistake; to go after Bernie doomed Clinton’s aspiration to become president unless she were to pick Bernie as her running mate.
I knew then that Hillary could become president if and only if it were meant to be; had the Clinton’s campaign paid a tiny little bit of attention to my articles, the country would not have had to deal with a Trump’s presidency, inauguration of whom is the beginning of Trumpageddon.
On March 6, 2016 – nine months before the voting in the general elections on November 6, 2016 – in the article Hillary-Bernie The Express Lane To 1600 Pennsylvania Ave written before Hillary was crowned the Democratic Party nominee and before Trump was accepted as the Republican Party nominee, I stated the following “For the Democrat Party, the undeniably sure path to the Oval Office is a Hillary-Bernie ticket.” It was a way to alert the Hillary’s camp to begin the process of making nice with Bernie and picking him as the running mate; I even went much further in the article “If Hillary Clinton is serious about winning the general elections, she should seriously consider choosing Bernie Sanders as her running mate.” It goes without saying that Hillary’s camp was so preoccupied in its attempt to destroy Bernie that everyone in her staff was blinded by the misguided strategy and missed the opportunity to make alliance with the only person capable of clearing the path to her election as the next president of the United States. I was so certain that I was right in my assessment that I put my reputation on the line “I am willing to declare without a shred of a doubt that a Hillary-Bernie team is an unbeatable ticket in the general elections irrespective of whom the GOP picks as its nominee.”
I got quite a few backlashes from both the Bernie’s and the Clinton’s camps. The Bernizens dismissed the idea (at that early stage in the election) for Bernie to simply fold his campaign and join Hillary as running mate; the Clinton’ staff dismissed the idea that Hillary had to pick Bernie in order to win the White House. People from both the Bernie and the Hillary’s camps “unfriended” me on Facebook and “unfollowed” me on Twitter. I was really hurt. If only they knew how right I was! I am still waiting for an apology from both sides.
After the tears in my eyes dried up or I wiped them out – I can’t remember anymore – I doubled down on my prediction; so, on March 11, 2016 – you see, it didn’t take long for my tears to dry up – in the article Hillary-Bernie The Unbeatable Democrat Ticket, I reiterated that “If Hillary Clinton is serious about winning the general elections, she should seriously consider choosing Bernie Sanders as her running mate.” Either I was shameless or Hillary was hard of hearing, the latter was obviously the case. By then, the rifts between Hillary’s camp and Bernie’s have grown to a point where the idea that Bernie might leave the Democratic Party began to float around. I then urged the Clinton’s camp “Hillary ought to pick Bernie Sanders as her running mate if she really wants to win in the general elections” to seriously consider Bernie as running mate not just to avoid a fracture in the party but also to ensure her election as the next president.
I also warned the Clinton’s camp against the belief that once the primaries were over, the Bernie’ supporters would simply fall in line “The Bernie’ supporters are not for sale or for exchange; they are loyal to the Bernie’s message. And if Mrs. Clinton made the mistake of dismissing Bernie again, there will be no opportunity to recover this time. That mistake will be a fatal blow to her aspirations for the Oval Office.” I became restless in my attempt to shake the Clinton’s campaign to wake up to the reality of the moment “Bernie has become an indispensable partner Hillary can no longer ignore or dismiss. She needs Bernie in the ticket.” One would think that the campaign manager would at the very least heed the advice and consider Bernie as Hillary’s VP; he wasn’t even looked at as an option.
As it became obvious after the election, it seemed that the Bernizens did indeed make a big difference in the outcome; some 30-40 percent migrated to the Clinton’s camp, another 7% voted for third parties and the remaining didn’t vote at all.
It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that Hillary would have easily won the election had she (and her campaign) not made all those mistakes, all of which were under their full control. As I so eloquently put it in the article “if Mrs. Clinton made the mistake of dismissing Bernie again, there will be no opportunity to recover this time. That mistake will be a fatal blow to her aspirations for the Oval Office.” Indeed was I right! Mrs. Clinton suffered a fatal blow from which there is no recovery.
It is my hope that the next candidates for the Oval Office would pay a little bit more attention to my writing. After all, their future will depend on it.
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